Manufacturers agree to major marketing overhaul
Advertising, marketing and media magazine B & T reports that soft drink manufacturers including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have agreed to a major marketing overhaul of the $6bn Australian beverages industry that will see:
The Australian Beverages Council is the peak industry body for manufacturers, distributors and importers of non-alcoholic beverages with members accounting for 95% of the industry’s retail market. The Council’s policy document, “Commitment Addressing Obesity and other Health & Wellness Issues” spells out some major initiatives.
CEO Tony Gentile says, “With this document the beverage industry is flagging to both consumers and Government that we see ourselves very much as part of the solution in assisting consumers in making informed choices.”
According to Gentile, the majority of its members including the major soft drink players have adopted the new guidelines as a response to increasing concerns about childhood obesity.
The new marketing guidelines incorporate nine key proposals to be introduced in the next two years:
• School canteens – voluntarily withdrawing sugar-sweetened soft drinks from all primary schools and only provide high schools sugar sweetened soft drinks at their request.
• Marketing to children – a ban on all forms of media advertising of any sugar-sweetened products directly to primary school age children (under 12 years) or in TV programs where primary school children are the majority of the audience.
• The control of promotions – ensuring that competitions involving beverages does not encourage over consumption from its consumers.
• Front-of-pack labelling – introducing front-of-pack labelling clearly indicating the energy content of all soft drink containers marketed as single serves, such as the popular 375mL can.
• Additional nutritional panel information – simultaneously introduce additional percentage of daily intake information for all major nutrients in the Nutrition Information Panel.
• Increase low-calorie product range – introduce a wide range of new low or no-calorie products as well as light versions of existing products.
• Encourage portion control – encourage single-size packaging and pursue the appropriate downsizing of products in order to avoid over-consumption.
• Active participation in healthy lifestyle and physical activity programs – collaborate with relevant national authorities to take part in educational programs providing consumers with further nutritional information.
• Independent research studies – contribute or conduct public and private research on consumer behaviour in order to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
These new initiatives will be rolled out progressively in the next two years and the Australian Beverages Council says members will start introducing the new labels by this summer.
Coca-Cola Australia has indicated it will replace the labels on its soft drinks, juices, teas and sports drinks by the end of the year. They will “empower Australians with the facts to make informed choices for their health and wellbeing,” says MD Gareth Edgecombe.
Since 2004, Coca-Cola has voluntarily withdrawn carbonated soft drinks containing sugar or caffeine from primary schools in Australia and already has in place a worldwide policy of not targeting advertising to children under 12.
PepsiCo Beverages Australia franchise vice president, Brad van Dijk, says, “In addition to the labelling changes PepsiCo supports all initiatives in the Council’s new marketing guidelines.
“Some of these, such as not selling sugar-sweetened soft drinks in primary schools, have been a standard part of our marketing policy for some time”.
Cadbury Schweppes, which bottles and distributes PepsiCo in Australia, is also supporting the marketing overhaul.
“Cadbury Schweppes fully supports the Australian Beverages Council’s new labelling initiative,” says Mark Smith, MD for Australia and New Zealand.
“This change is in line with our commitment to encourage consumers to understand how our products can fit into a balanced lifestyle.”
This is certainly a start – how effective do you think it will be and what else needs to be done?